Monday, 16 March 2009

The map told me to do it...

Well, I have entered the brave new world of people who blindly follow their GPSs. I took my first big step into the modern age over the weekend. I figured out a bike route, using Google Maps, then, through the miracle of science, managed to convert it to a file that could be read by my Garmin. There I had, laid out in front of me, in glowing sort of purply color, the path to my enlightenment, or at least to Hastings, about 65 miles southeast, on the coast. Blindly south(east) I pedalled, guided by the purple light, until I was presented with several minor errors that required actual thought on my part. The first was a taxi stand, which the Garmin goddess insisted I ride through. Fine - I am a taxi of one. The next proved slightly more problematic - a one-way street going the wrong way. I disobeyed my purple pathway and took the long way around, and had to endure the irritated beeping of my little guidance machine. However, this foray into the unknown did give the the chance to pedal through Pratt's Bottom (with a turnoff to Knockholt), which had to have been a good thing. The third and final error would have had me going the wrong way around a roundabout - a very big roundabout. It is quite possible that Google Maps doesn't entirely understand the concept of 'one-way'. I will have to write them a sternly worded letter, or perhaps pay a little more attention the next time I'm creating a route. However, despite these minor little inconveniences, I did not pedal my way into a shrub, or a lake, or off a cliff, and having my route all mapped out and moving along in front of me let me head out onto the little tiny 1-lane roads through towns just so cute I was forced to think cute thoughts. Fortunately, the ride ended up in Hastings, which is about as grim of a seaside town as one could ever desire, full of horrid chavs and other flotsom and jetsom washed up on the shores of the English Channel. I made sure to keep my bike lock fastened securely to my waist, to ensure I was not stolen for parts. One can never be too safe. I survived though, and had a lovely train ride back to civilization, reading the Sunday paper and having important thoughts, about something, I'm sure. Got home then and managed to scarf down 400g of lamb, 400g of potatoes, and 250g of random veggies, which makes well over two pounds of food. Yummy!

Today has been rather useless. I have a whole shitpile of work to do and I've just been uninspired. I did, however, think some about why London cyclists can be such a nasty bunch, glaring at each other and cutting each other off. In the rest of the world, people on bikes tend to nod at each other, help each other out, eat too much granola, that sort of thing. In London, however, cycling often seems to be, well, a competition of who has the largest penis (this sometimes works for women as well). Every traffic light in the morning rush hour feels like the beginning of the Tour de France. It occurred to me today, after engaging with some light conversation with an elderly gentleman about his driving habits (involving several four letter words and random fingers), that perhaps some of this naked aggression and competition on the roads comes b/c a lot of cycling in London is about trying to keep oneself from being mowed over by pinheads in fast moving cars. That sort of environment would, I guess, tend to engender feelings of stress and general pissoffedness at the world, or at least at drivers, pedestrians, other cyclists, the state of the economy, peanut butter, whatever - that I can see how it might transfer into generally antisocial behavior. Behaviour even. So yeah, there you go, and ooh, it looks like it's time to go. Off to the gym, so I can be buff und huge. Or something.

No comments: